Q&A: Siege

2019 has seen the addition of a whole host of new faces to the Toolroom family, and it would not be an understatement to say that Belgium’s very own Sieg Motmans, otherwise known as Siege, is one of the most exciting additions we’ve made to our artist roster in years.

Though 2019 may seem like Siege’s breakout year, it’s clear that he’s been hard at work for nearly 15 years crafting a sound that is uniquely his own. For an artist like Siege, it can seem like his entire life has led up to this moment. Growing up in a profoundly musical household and being the proud owner of a set of turntables before he could ever (legally) set foot in a nightclub, you could say he was ‘born to do this’.

While plenty of Dutch artists were getting caught up in the EDM craze just a few short years ago, Siege was staying true to his word. A lifelong fan of true House music, there’s something about Siege’s take on our favourite genre that’s caught the attention of names like Bob Sinclar, Carl Cox, and of course, Mark Knight.

Siege is one of our proudest recruits in 2019, and, we couldn’t be more excited to have taken him under our wing. We recently had a chance to catch up with him ahead of his performances at our October party at Studio 338 and our showcase for Amsterdam Dance Event, talking shop about everything from pirate radio to his latest FaderPro course for Toolroom Academy.

When did you first start producing music? How old were you?

I started playing around with FL Studio when I was 16 or 17.

My first ever remix was released in 2009. I was 20 at the time, and had already made the switch to Ableton.

In either case, you’ve come a long way from your younger years.

I’ve heard that you used to rip tracks off the radio with a tape recorder your grandfather gave you, pirate radio style. Did you grow up in a musical environment?

Haha, yes, I did.

My grandfather used to work for Philips and actually gave me an old tape recorder. He didn’t play music, but he provided me with the electrics!

My other granddad played the piano. My dad plays double bass now, and I think he played guitar back in the day too. My mum played guitar and currently sings in a choir. It’s fair to say I grew up in a musical environment.

As a kid, I went to a music academy and learned to play the piano. Of course, I never finished it because I was drawn to electronic music, and not the classic stuff.

We can’t say you made a bad decision there.

Speaking of the early days, it’s clear that you’ve come a long way since your breakout track ‘Crunk’. How would you say your sound has morphed since then?

At the time that I made Crunk, EDM was blowing up, but it never felt right for me making that kind of music.

Crunk was a bit more ‘UK House’ sounding, and I just felt more comfortable creating that genre of music. At first, I couldn’t find a label for it. Honestly, this made me a bit insecure.

  

But, when I sent it to Defected for their Azuli sublabel, they signed it straight away! It did well, and I knew from now on, I’m only making the music that I love.

Now, I feel I’m at a point where I’m 100% proud of what I’m making, and I’m playing every record I make in my sets as well. It’s been a long road, but I’m super happy where I’m at right now.

You’re not the only one who loves what you’re making.

It’s clear that Mark Knight has taken a massive liking to you. How does it feel to have an international icon like him recognise your sound?

It’s been amazing! I always loved Toolroom as a label, and it’s an honour being asked by the main man himself to join the family. 🙏🏻

What has it been like playing at Toolroom’s Sunday party at Eden?

Like a dream come true.

I think I went to Ibiza for the first time in 2010 – ever since then, I thought to myself that “one day I’ll play here”.

Thanks to Toolroom, the dream became a reality.

I also really like the vibe at Eden, there’s some proper party-heads in there! The closing party was so, so good.

I had the privilege to play the last hour of the night – short and sweet, just how I like it.

Actually, played Daft Punk ‘One More Time’ as my last record, a classic I used to play on vinyl back in the day. It just felt like the right record at the right time, and everyone loved it.

Earlier this year, you released an unofficial bootleg of Bob Sinclar’s ‘I Feel For You’. Everyone played it, and Bob himself even went on to champion it. How did this remix come to be?

Well, I like to work with vocals.

I had the accapella laying around and thought it would be cool to do something with it. I had an idea in my head and turned it around pretty quickly. The rest, as they say, is history.

You seem to have a penchant for ‘re-rubbing’ classic records and putting your own, special treatment on them. What is it about classic House music that inspires you so much?

I’ve been DJ’ing for about 15 years now – these records just feel nostalgic to me, and in all honesty, they’re great songs.

These days, you have to turn around your music so fast it feels like they don’t make records like they used to do anymore.

I love to take these great tunes and turn them into something I can play in my sets today.

So, we’ve been getting rave reviews of your FaderPro course. For example, you’ve managed to put the mix down process in terms that anybody can understand. Do you take a bit of a ‘less is more’ approach to your tracks?

Definitely.

I used to have too many sounds playing on top of each other and I’d over-process every channel as well. It just doesn’t make sense, and it really clouds up your mix. Today, my mantra is to pick fewer sounds, and make sure they sound 100% from the beginning.

2019 has been a big year for you. From regular appearances in Ibiza, releases on labels like Toolroom and Saved, and now your own FaderPro course, what’s next in the world of Siege?

I have an EP coming up on Alan Fitzpatrick’s ‘We Are The Brave’ later this month.

I’m also playing at Studio 338 and ADE for Toolroom!

In November, I’m making my Elrow debut in my hometown, and there should be one more record coming out on Toolroom too this year.

Happy days.

Happy days indeed! If there is one thing you could tell yourself when you first started producing music, what would it be?

Stick to the music you love, but don’t think in ‘boxes’. Also, take your time to learn the craft. These days, there are so many courses out there it really should be easy.

Great advice. In closing, what would you say are your top 5 tips for new music producers?

Don’t be afraid to use samples and loops. Some people think it’s not cool to use them, but I don’t care. If you use loops, use them in a creative way. Don’t just throw five loops on top of each other and say, “I made this track”.

Don’t try to force creativity, creativity is something that comes naturally. If you don’t feel creative, just go do something else. If you try to force it, you’ll get frustrated, and nothing good comes from that.

When you do get a creative run, get the most out of it that you can. Don’t waste your time on technical stuff, but get as many ideas down as you can. You can always finish them off later.

Don’t be afraid to evaluate yourself. Sometimes it’s good to leave an idea laying around for a couple of weeks, and get back into it afterwards. If you still think it’s good enough, it’s worth finishing off. If you don’t think it’s good enough, just forget about it.

Do finish off the projects you think are worth finishing off. I know it’s much more exciting to start something new, but you need to learn how to finish stuff. This is something you can do when you’re not feeling creative, because most of the time it’s arrangement and mixing, and to me that’s ‘technical stuff’, I don’t feel like I need to be creative for that.

Want to get a look inside Siege’s production process? Check out his latest FaderPro course for Toolroom Academy.

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